San Jose State at No. 21 Stanford
Kickoff: Friday, 10 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Spread: Stanford by 25.5.
Watchability: It's a Friday night and San Jose State is playing, so unless you want to see how the post-Andrew Luck era starts at Stanford, you probably don't need to tune in.
Shining stars: Stanford: RB Stepfan Taylor. With a new quarterback under center for the Cardinal, Taylor -- the school's fourth all-time leading rusher -- will probably figure heavily into coach David Shaw's game plan. San Jose State: The Spartans don't have a lot of household names, but they do have the preseason WAC defensive player of the year in defensive end Travis Johnson. If Johnson, who had 9.5 sacks last season, gives Stanford's revamped O-line trouble, he could make it a long day for Josh Nunes.
Who could steal the show: Stanford: QB Josh Nunes. Nunes probably won't have Stanford fans saying "Andrew who" after the game. But if Nunes can put together an efficient game that's mistake-free, Shaw will go to sleep Friday night knowing he made the right decision at quarterback. San Jose State: Stanford's Nunes won't be the only QB on the field that won his job in August. Spartans quarterback David Fales won a slightly less publicized battle at San Jose State. Spartans coach Mike MacIntyre would like nothing more than to see a big game from his new starter who threw for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns in two seasons at Monterey Pennisula College before transferring to San Jose State.
You going? Ranking the road trip: If you like tailgating with wine and really smart people, then this is a good road trip to take. However, if you want to get the full college football experience in Palo Alto, a Friday game against San Jose State may not be the best one to attend.
Magic number for Stanford: 4. Its been four years since Stanford last started a season without Andrew Luck under center. In 2008, with Tavita Pritchard at quarterback, the Cardinal beat Oregon State 36-28 in the season opener. Pritchard threw only 17 passes in the game and Stanford ran the ball 48 times. Will that pass-run breakdown be the recipe for success this season?
Magic number for San Jose State: 33.5. Since 2009, the Spartans have faced six BCS opponents. San Jose State is 0-6 in those games with an average margin of defeat of 33.5 points, including a 57-3 loss to Stanford last season.
The game comes down to: Scoring. Stanford may have lost Andrew Luck, but the Cardinal return most of their key players on defense. With a new quarterback under center for the Spartans, San Jose State is going to have a difficult time scoring against the loaded Stanford defense. The Cardinal offense will not have the same problem with the San Jose State defense.
Prediction: Stanford 41, San Jose State 10
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